Great Brazilian Soccer Players – Pelé

Edison Arantes do Nascimento is a retired soccer player from Brazil and known as a legend and the best soccer player to ever play the game. To us he is better known as Pelé but his parents lovingly called him “Dico” while growing up. He wasn’t always known as Pelé though. Rumor has it that this nickname was given to him in primary school. He was born on Oct. 23, 1940, in Tres Coracoes, Brazil. Coming from a poor family, the player even used to polish shoes to earn those extra pennies. His father Dondinho introduced Pelé to the sport of soccer. His father was a footballer himself, playing for Fluminense in the Brazilian league.

In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He was blessed with speed, great balance and the ability to control the ball superbly. Pelé started his career in a small club where he was spotted by Waldemar de Brito who without hesitation said that Pelé would turn out to be the greatest soccer player in the world”. Soccer star Waldemar de Brito discovered the boy’s talent and put him with Santos. Pelé was only 15 and remained with the club for nearly twenty years until 1974.

Pelé made his debut in a match against Corinthians in a win 7-1, scoring one goal. Pelé was only 16 when he scored his first goal. It was his first goal and his first major game.

Pelé has to his credit the 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cups. In 1975 Pelé joined a North American team and won them numerous championships. He was one of the highest paid athletes at that time.

During his career, he earned himself many nicknames: The King of Soccer, The King Pelé and The King. Pelé made a name for himself at a tender age for his prowess in front of goal. His game was so powerful that in 1967, the Civil War in Nigeria was stopped by a 48 hour cease fire only to watch him play in Lagos.

Honorable moments of Pelé

In 1981 he was named ‘Athlete of the 20th Century’ in an election organized by the French newspaper L’Equipe.
The IFFHS International Federation of Soccer History and Statistics crowned him as Soccer Player of the Century in 1999.
In the 1958 World Cup, Pelé became a top scorer with six goals in the competition.
On November 19, 1969, scored his thousandth goal. He dedicated this goal to the poor children of Brazil.
Worldwide ambassador for soccer.
Youngest player to score a hat-trick against France in 1958.

In his career he scored 760 official goals. In total Pelé scored 1281 goals in 1363 games. He earned a great name for himself. He was a superstar that dominated the English, Italian and Spanish leagues, commanding a massive salary and advertising contracts. He was the only soccer player in the world to be awarded three World Cup winning medals.

He was indeed a South American star who played soccer in its purest form. After all, he is the best soccer player in the World and athlete of the 20th century.

Facts on Brazil